CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s a huge increase in seniors needing meals in St. Lawrence County, but there’s a shortage of volunteers to take the meals to them.
They’re still dishing it out and still delivering – six months into the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes that’s the only person they see once a day is you, delivering the meal,” said Jeanette Wood, SLC Office for the Aging nutrition assistant.
Demand for St. Lawrence County’s senior meals program has soared. At the pandemic’s start, about 475 seniors had meals delivered to their homes. Now, it’s 700.
“We are struggling to meet the demands that are still here,” said Andrea Montgomery, SLC Office for the Aging director.
A sharp drop off in volunteers to deliver meals is part of that struggle. So they’re pulling staff like Jeanette Wood out of the kitchen to run routes. It has its rewards.
“I can really see how much the clients appreciate you bringing that meal to them,” said Wood.
Plenty of people volunteered at the pandemic’s start. Many were on furlough from jobs or working from home. But many have since gone back to their workplaces.
“We do have a small core group of volunteers who have continued with us this entire time and allowed us to do whatever we need to do to get the job done,” said Montgomery.
Part of the increase in demand is because dining rooms in senior housing have been closed due to the pandemic.
There is so much demand for the program now that there’s a waiting list. About 50 seniors that want home delivered meals in this county can’t get them. But there is a way you can help with that.
The number to call if you want to volunteer to deliver meals is 315-386-4730 Monday through Friday. Those are also the days when the help is needed.